Introducing your kid to music is certainly an excellent idea and choosing the keyboard for an instrument is the best choice. However, if you have been trying to figure out the type of item that would delight your kid, would give him or her a sense of achievement and will not disrupt the comfort of your home, you surely know that the selection of the best item to buy is far from being easy. In what follows, we would like to help you with a few aspects and factors to take into consideration while browsing pianos and keyboards and with a few product recommendations as well.
Keyboard or Piano
This is actually the very first question to make up your mind about. Pianos used to be considered the best in terms of sound quality, but with today’s advanced technologies, musical keyboards are able to deliver sound that is just as clear and crispy. Pianos also come with some notable disadvantages such as high price and bulkiness – features that are eliminated with keyboards. If you are looking for an instrument that your kid can use to find out whether he or she likes playing piano music, buying a musical keyboard is probably the best solution – it is affordable, small, lightweight, easy to move one room to the other and versatile, perfect for making the initial learning period not only efficient, but also great fun. And one more benefit of keyboards: most of them can be played using headphones, so the initial odd sounds that your kid gets out of the instrument will not disturb the rest of the family.
What to Look for in A Keyboard
Here are a few of the most important features to look for when evaluating musical keyboards:
- Number of keys – instruments vary in size and in the number of keys as well. Standard pianos have 88 keys, and that is the number of keys you should get for advanced players, but smaller items that feature a smaller number of keys can be just perfect for a kid just about to start learning the piano
- Maximum polyphony – the term refers to the number of notes the instrument is able to produce at the same time. Look for at least 8-note polyphony for beginners, but for an advanced player, get an instrument that provides at least 32-note polyphony
- Integrated songs, sounds and tones – musical keyboards can help beginners a lot by showing them how to play certain songs key by key. Most units also offer variety by giving the player the choice of switching between piano, organ and other instrument sounds.
Should you Get Your Kids Lessons When Starting Out?
In the past, learning to hit the right keys maintaining the right position and to read music was impossible without a teacher. However, nowadays there are so many great online resources, such as complete courses, tutorials and other types of instructional materials, that, with a little discipline, your kids can learn to play the instrument in an easy and enjoyable way.
Our Favorite Keyboards
Casio SA76 44 Mini
This super-small, lightweight, battery-operated, and portable Casio keyboard is just perfect for beginners. The SA76 features 44 keys and 8-note polyphony for great sound that will motivate beginner players to continue practicing. The small unit comes with 10 integrated songs, 50 different rhythms and 100 different tones to make playing great fun, while the integrated audio jack allows players to play for themselves until they feel comfortable showing their skills to an audience.
Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable
This unit is larger and more complex than the previous one, being suitable not only for beginner players, but also for piano masters or for those who want to compose music. The 76 keys that the keyboard comprises are touch sensitive, thus giving the player the perfect feeling of playing a grand piano – amazing sound included. The keyboard comes with an educational suit with lessons for each hand, a 6-track recorder, stereo sound and lots of other great digital features that makes learning very entertaining.
Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard
This 61-key unit comes with 32-note polyphony and a huge database that includes over 750 voices, over 200 different tempos and more than two dozen integrated songs, all of them providing great help for beginner players. The Grand button allows you to switch instantly to the grand piano mode, which replicates the sound that only sophisticated pianos can deliver.
The keyboard comes with great compatibility features as well – the provided USB port allows you to hook the keyboard to a computer for even more functionality and you can also connect your headphones, a mixer or even to another keyboard. The unit runs on battery, but you can purchase an adapter for it and operate it using a current outlet if you find that solution more comfortable.
Choose any of the above keyboards and you are guaranteed your child will love practicing on it!
Alan has been a touring musician for many years, having played an array of string instruments. He has a particular love for the sounds of the Ukulele . As well as touring he loves to teach and write about his passion.